On 4th of June 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam (Salma Dam) with President of Afghanistan Dr. Ashraf Ghani at Chist-e-Sharif in Herat province in Western Afghanistan. The Salma Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by Government of India on river HariRud, in Herat province of Afghanistan.
The Afghan-India Friendship Dam is Rs. 1,775 crore multi-purpose project planned for generating 42 MW of power, irrigating 75,000 hectares of land, water supply and other benefits to the people of Afghanistan. The project was executed and implemented by WAPCOS Ltd., a Government of India Undertaking under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The project is funded by Government of India and took more than ten years to complete. The successful completion of the project represents culmination of years of hard work by 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers and other professionals in tricky conditions.
“The friendship dam unites us in solidarity as Chishti Sharif joined us in spirit centuries ago… Thank you President for naming this dam as Afghan-India Friendship Dam. We are truly humbled by this generosity of the Afghan spirit”, said Modi. "This dam will chart a new course of cooperation and prosperity", said Dr. Ashraf Ghani.
It is located 165 kilometres east of Herat town and is connected with earthen road. Due to security reasons, all Indians working on the project had to reach the site once a month in a helicopter provided by the Afghan government. Several hydro-mechanical equipment used for its construction have been dispatched by India-via-Iran as the dam sits in the strategically important Herat province, which also lies on the ancient trade routes of the Middle East, South and Central Asia.
The project has an installed capacity of 42 MW with three power units of 14 MW each and has a gross capacity of 633 million cubic metres. It is planned to provide stabilized irrigation to 35,000 hectares of land and an additional irrigation facility to 40,000 hectares. The height of the Dam is 104.3 metres, length 540 metres and width at the bottom is 450 metres.
This is Narendra Modi's second visit to Afghanistan in less than six months.